Friday, June 18, 2010


So we had to make the difficult decision to amputate Parker's leg. As you may remember back in December we found a tumor on his leg. It turned out to be malignant. We were lucky that the type of cancer it is it's one that does not spread but the tumor keeps growing. He had surgery at the end of December to try to take as much of the tumor out. Because of the location they were not able to take the entire thing. So the tumor grew back and it was becoming a problem again. The problem with the growing is that it became ulcerated so it was bleeding and it was making it hard for him to walk. He kept picking at it. We tried keeping it bandaged up but as you know Parker well there is nothing more that the likes than picking something, especially a wound. So the poor thing was with a cone for a while and then a boot.

In April the tumor was back and worse than December so we decided to try another surgery to try to take the tumor out. The tumor was so large at this point that after the surgery he did not have enough skin to be able to close the wound. Since April it has been a nightmare trying to make it heal. He keep getting infections and he was just in pain.
So last week we decided to amputate. By amputating the cancer problem goes away but then the new issue of walking on 3 legs arises. We were concerned about his age, he will be 11 in November. But we figured that at this point it was either amputating or putting him to sleep and I was not ready for that especially since there was a chance he could recover.
So he had surgery on Wednesday. He spent the night at the vet and we picked him up yesterday afternoon. I was amazed when I saw Aaron walk out of the vet with Parker hopping next to him. I was expecting a big wound and lots of stitches but it was worse than I had imagined. I forget how much they have to shave him, he looks like a poodle with no hair in about 1/2 his body.
The girls were excited to have him home, although Izzie lost interest on him and went back to playing within 5 minutes of being home. Somehow they did not notice the big wound or the fact that he was missing a leg.

I had tried to prepare Natalie and after we got home she told me that I was wrong. That I had told her that Parker would look different but that he looked the same to her. Apparently she thought that he was going to change colors or something because while we were waiting for Aaron to come out of the vet with Parker she asked me what color he was going to be.

So we put a t-shirt on him to cover the wound and he is doing better. He looks good, he is in pain but I am amazed at how animals recover. He can pull himself up and he stands and hops around. He gets tired quickly and he does not sit anymore, he goes down and lays down but it is way more than I was expecting.

He ate his dinner well last night (again this is Parker when has he turned down food!). He slept well, but at 1am I woke up to his whimpers. Turns out that somehow he had turned and he was laying on his surgery side so he could not get himself back up and I am sure it was hurting. Because he is so heavy and I was afraid of hurting him I had to wake Aaron up (which he was thrilled). But we turned him around and he was better and he slept fine. This morning we put him out and we left him in the yard for a few minutes when then I heard a whimper and I found him on the back porch. He climbed up the 4 steps from the yard to the back porch. I have no idea how he did it, and it exhausted him but he did it! If he can do this not even 2 days after surgery I have hopes that he will recover.

He is taking it easy, given that I think he will try to go upstairs I am keeping a gate so that he does not even try to climb upstairs. It helps that our bedroom is downstairs so at least he can sleep with us. Also given that it is so hot he is happy to stay downstairs where it's cooler.
We are sad for what he has lost and that he will never be the same but we are lucky that he is still alive and he will get better.
here are some pictures...

Parker on Tuesday, the day before his surgery wearing the boot.

When we got home yesterday afternoon. His whole belly is shaved.

This morning, tired after climbing up 4 steps.

As I was writing this he kept whimpering because he did not like being by himself. I then hear him hopping and I turned to find him in the entrance. He had crossed the living room and wanted to come and lay by the front door closer to me and where he usually lays. It is amazing watching him because he loves to lay against the walls and as he was getting closer I could see that the way he was standing he was going to have to lay on his surgery side but he must have a realized it too because he turned around so that he could lay on his good side.
Here he is standing making his way across.


Kelli, Kellogg, Kellzer, Calleen, Squaleen..whatever said...

Irene, your blog brought tears to my eyes this morning. I know what Parker means to you and how difficult it must have been to make the decision to amputate. I am so amazed by his strength 2 days later! He's going to be just fine! He'll be hopping up your stairs in no time. Good Luck Parker!!!

Lauren said...

Aw, he looks so pitiful. I'm glad you stuck with him and you are making him fight. Most people, unfortunately, would just put him to sleep. Go Parker Go!!